NASCAR Sprint Cup Final at Miami

Tony Takes It!

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, is the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) champion following a thrilling victory in the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Stewart took his fourth and final lead of the race with 36 laps remaining and finished a little more than one second ahead Carl Edwards. Stewart won a points tie-breaker with Edwards, five victories to one, overcoming a three-point deficit in the finale.

“What an incredible championship run Tony put on this year,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President of performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “Winning a record five of the 10 Chase races and overcoming a deficit in the final race is the very definition of a champion. But, he had been there before and he handled that pressure like the champion that he is.”

After going winless in the first 26 races of the season, Stewart won the first two races of the Chase, at Chicago and New Hampshire, and later added back-to-back victories at Martinsville and Texas before closing the season with the win at Homestead.

Stewart, who previously won titles in 2002 and 2005, becomes the eighth driver in series history to win three championships. Chevrolet now has won 28 driver’s championships, including each of the last seven. Stewart started the streak in 2005, and Jimmie Johnson won an unprecedented five in a row from 2006-2010.

Buck Baker won Chevrolet’s first driver’s championship in 1957.

The victory was the 44th NSCS win for Stewart. He led four times for a total of 65 of the 267-lap race that was delayed by rain three times. Fighting back from adversity that sent him to the back of the field twice as a result of repairs made on pit road by the Darian Grubb-led crew, Stewart passed 118 cars on the way to Victory Lane and the Championship.

After the way those first 109 laps went today,” said Stewart from Victory Lane. “I could not be more proud. We had the problem early and had the hole in the nose, everybody on this Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy team did a great job of getting it back going, then we had the contact with (David) Reutimann and had to come back in and fix it again. I told them “Man, it is really going to make these guys mad when we come back twice and still kick their butt”. It was optimism and trying to keep the guys pumped up and then to come out here and actually do it, is awesome.

“We just fought. This Office Depot/Mobil 1 team is just incredible,” said Darian Grubb, Stewart’s crew chief.  “We just didn’t give up. We kept fighting. We went out and earned this championship and showed we’re true champions.”

Four-time NSCS Champion Jeff Gordon drove the No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet to a fifth place finish. The strong run moved Gordon up to eighth in the final standings. He garnered three wins during the year.